Vilnius University Library

Vilnius University Library

Sukurta: 23 May 2022


Universiteto 3, Vilnius, LT-01122
Saulėtekio al. 5, Vilnius, LT- 10222



Director General – Irena Krivienė
Tel. 268 7102

Director of Information Services Department – Dr Marija Prokopčik
Tel. 268 7101

Director of Heritage Collections and Research Department – Nijolė Klingaitė-Dasevičienė
Tel. 268 7111

Director of Scholarly Communication and Technologies Department – Dr Žibutė Petrauskienė
Tel. 219 5090

Vilnius University (VU) Library is the oldest institutional library in Lithuania and one of the oldest in Eastern Europe. It dates back to 1570, when the Jesuit College and its library were founded. The Jesuit College was transformed into a university in 1579, and its library became the University’s Library.
After the opening of a new building – Vilnius University Library Scholarly Communication and Information Centre (SCIC) in February 2013 – the Library managed to evenly actualize its tasks for two integral information centres. The Library collection contains 4.9 million items; there are 347 thousand manuscripts and documents in various languages, dating from the 13th century up to the present. VU Library is also famous for its collection of rare manuscripts and prints, which consists of more than 167 thousand ancient and rare volumes released between the 15th and 20th centuries.
A collection of over 95 thousand original graphic prints is the oldest collection of this kind in Lithuania. It includes collections of old (17th through the first half of the 20th century, around 10 thousand items) and modern graphic prints.
VU Library is a member of three international organizations: Bibliotheca Baltica, Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL) and Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) as well as that of Academic Libraries Association of Lithuania, the Lithuanian Research Library Consortium and Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR).
Since 2017, VU Library is participating in the international incunabula research project Material Evidence in Incunabula (MEI), under the auspices of CERL. In 2021, VU Library continued participating in the national initiative providing digital content to National Virtual Heritage System and Europeana as a partner. The Library is involved in an exchange of publications with 70 foreign libraries and academic institutions in various countries.
In 2021, the Library users could search for information in 66 subscribed databases (such as Web of Science, Science Direct (SciVerse), AccessMedicine, ACS publications, Academic Complete, Springer LINK, Wiley Online Library, JSTOR, etc.). Since 2015, Vilnius University Library provides an opportunity for its users to access electronic publications of the best world publishing houses through Evidence Based Acquisitions model and electronic books borrowing and acquisition service, based on ProQuest Ebook Central platform. This service allows users to get immediate access to individually requested electronic book titles, for a short-term loan or perpetual access.
The Library invests into evidence-based decisions in developing information services. The Library staff applies analysis of information resources used by students and researchers in studies and research activities. Results of analysis allow monitoring if the resources are relevant to students and researchers and improving both printed and electronic collections.
The Library provides scientific communication services to the University’s research community. Those include ensuring access to scientific publications and final theses (dissertations and their summaries) and disseminating them through the eLABa system; disseminating Open Science/Open Access ideas (promoting OA through publications in various OA journals, OA Week’s events, consultations for researchers, etc.); managing research data (coordination of Research Data Management (RDM) services, promoting, training, assistance and consultancy for researchers (MIDAS archive, open data, preparation of RDM plan, etc.), creating and developing a tool for preparing the RDM plan, training for doctoral students, etc.; consulting and training researchers and employees; editing and entering publications and the metadata into the system; performing scientometric analysis and dissemination of information (bibliometric analyses of VU and its subdivisions, individual scientists’ training, dissemination of information, consulting on the issues of scientometrics); assisting in preparation of statistical reports. A total of 71 117 publications of VU scientists and over 18 thousand graduation papers were registered since the creation of the eLABa system.
Aiming to become a leader in promoting the policy and ideas of open science at the University, the Library was actively engaged in the implementation of the Vilnius University Strategic Plan for 2021–2025 long-term objective 1.3 “Increasing Influence on the Society and the State” and the indicator 1.3.2 of the long-term objective “A Significant Enhancement of Scholarly Communication”. By the order of the Pro-Rector for Research of Vilnius University Prof. Edita Sužiedėlienė, a working group (the head – Director General of the Library Irena Krivienė) was set up with 5 representatives of the Library, which prepared “The Guidelines of Vilnius University’s Open Science Policy” and presented it to the Vilnius University community.
In 2021, VU Library provided services to more than 40 thousand users. They visited the Library more than 240 thousand times. Printed materials were borrowed more than 144 thousand times, and information resources from the Library subscribed databases were downloaded 1.68 million times.
VU Library has 31 reading rooms: 13 reading rooms are situated in the Central Library, 8 reading rooms in the SCIC, and 10 reading rooms in the premises of faculties and centres. In 2021, the number of faculty libraries increased by a new one, Šiauliai Academy Information Centre.
In 2021, the open stacks in the Library reading rooms include nearly half a million publications. Reading rooms have 1 894 work and study spaces. Vilnius University community members may use three group-work rooms in the Central Library and five in the SCIC.
The SCIC has 34 individual workrooms; the Central Library has 62 individual study spaces, which could be booked in advance for free.
Opening of the SCIC revolutionised the information landscape at the University, while another stage of integration of the faculty libraries formed two information centres, both supported by one management, administration, and maintenance system. For the first time in the University’s history, information sources and the Library’s infrastructure is open for users 24/7.
Reconstruction in the Central Library enabled unrestricted access to all the Library’s facilities for the disabled visitors: a wheelchair lift was constructed on the staircase of the Library. In the Central Library and the SCIC one can find adjustable study spaces; SCIC and Central Library also purchased software and hardware for the blind and visually impaired visitors as well as persons with reduced mobility.
Image development is an important part of each institution’s activity. The Library pays special attention to the formation and strengthening of internal and external communication as well as quick and convenient provision of information to its clients using the Library’s website and social networking. In pursuance of this aim, the number of VU Library social network users has considerably increased, while Facebook and Instagram continue to be the most successful tools of communication.
In 2021, the staff of VU Library organized 143 guided tours in four languages, which were attended by 1 585 persons from 29 countries. The SCIC has captured attention of the public both as a symbol of modern architecture and as an organisation providing innovative services. In 2021, the Centre was attended by 76 visitors of numerous official delegations and groups both from Lithuania’s and foreign from academic institutions as well as representatives of businesses. In 2021, Vilnius University Library hosted 54 public events and exhibitions. The numbers of guided tours and live events remain lower than in the previous years, and this is due to the continuing global pandemic.
Vilnius University Library became a part of the cultural heritage platform Google Arts & Culture in 2019. In 2021, the Library launched its third digital exhibition, Tales of Decorated Paper, which invites the viewer to explore examples of block-printed, sprinkled, marbled, paste and brocade paper, to admire exquisite patterns and ingenuity of early book creators and decorators, to appreciate the subtlety of fine crafts and the art of decoration. Inspired by the stylistics of Oriental cultures, it combines both abstract geometrical and natural motifs. In our times such paper is made by only a few artisans, while examples of the paper made by the old masters can be seen mostly only in museum and library collections; 6 847 viewers from different countries of the world visited the five-part digital exhibition from October to December 2021.
In 2021, the publishing activities of the Library included research of printed heritage, publications about Vilnius University academic community as well as those dealing with the Library services and activities. Members of the Library staff prepared and published 20 publications (1 bibliographic index, 5 virtual exhibitions, 10 scientific articles, 4 conference proceedings and theses).

In 2021, the pandemic had a great impact on the activities and indicators of the activities of Vilnius University Library. Besides that, a new department - Šiauliai Academy Information Centre – was added to the structure of Vilnius University Library. This addition brought an increase in users, study spaces and holdings of the Library. Another factor that impacted the activities of the Library was a cut in funding the subscription to databases and a smaller than usual supply of electronic resources. On the other hand, even with limited supply, the use of electronic resources did not considerably decrease as the Library staff organized additional trainings and offered alternative ways to acquire resources.